Kevan Shah '22 Selected as Newman Civic Fellow

Students who receive this honor are recognized for their commitment to solving public problems.

By: Kristine Yahna Todaro  Wednesday, March 3, 2021 11:39 AM

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Shah helped announce Muhlenberg's Opioid Prevention in Higher Education Grant to the community and the media in January 2020.

Kevan Shah ‘22, a public health and neuroscience major, will join 212 students from 39 states, Washington, D.C. and Mexico to form the 2021 cohort of the Newman Civic Fellows. The Newman Civic Fellowship is a year-long program for students from Campus Compact member institutions. 

The students selected for the fellowship are leaders on their campuses who demonstrate a commitment to finding solutions for challenges facing communities locally, nationally and internationally, according to the non-profit organization Campus Compact, which works to advance the public purposes of higher education. 

Shah, who was also recently named a 2021 Truman Scholar Finalist, was instrumental in Muhlenberg receiving an Opioid Prevention in Higher Education Grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. The $100,000 grant—the largest amount awarded to any single institution in the state—supports a program in which Muhlenberg students learn to train members of the Lehigh Valley community to administer Narcan.

“After witnessing Narcan (opioid overdose rescue agent) save the life of someone my age, I realized that expanding access to it may be one of the most effective ways to combat the opioid crisis,” wrote Shah in his statement for the fellowship. “And so, I founded a nonprofit called End Overdose Together to ensure that all individuals in our community are aware and able to administer Narcan when confronted by an opioid overdose. Working alongside a team of changemakers has not only affirmed my commitment to serve those in my community but underscored the kind of deeply meaningful social change that can happen through collaboration.”

In her nomination of Shah, Muhlenberg College President Kathleen Harring said he is passionate about decreasing opioid overdose. “Even before he matriculated at the College, Kevan was working collectively with the New Jersey Reentry Corporation to make health policy recommendations specifically related to opioid use. While at Muhlenberg, Kevan started an organization called End Overdose Together intended to give communities the tools they need to prevent overdose. The organization equips college students to lead training sessions with individuals and organizations in opioid overdose recognition and prevention and trains them to be able to use Narcan. Kevan is committed to the collective power of community health.”

The fellowship is named for the late Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact’s founders, who was a tireless advocate for civic engagement in higher education. In the spirit of Dr. Newman’s leadership, Campus Compact member presidents and chancellors nominate student leaders from their campuses to be named Newman Civic Fellows.

Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides Fellows with a variety of learning and networking opportunities that emphasize personal, professional and civic growth. Each year, fellows participate in numerous virtual training and networking opportunities to help provide them with the skills and connections they need to create large-scale positive change. The cornerstone of the fellowship is the Annual Convening of Fellows, which offers intensive skill-building and networking over the course of two days. The fellowship also provides fellows with pathways to apply for exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.

“We are proud to recognize these extraordinary student leaders and thrilled to engage with them,” said Campus Compact President Andrew Seligsohn. “The experience of the last year has driven home to all of us that we need open-minded, innovative, public-spirited thinkers and doers. That is what Campus Compact is about, and the stories of our Newman Civic Fellows demonstrate it's who they are.”